As it has been for the last 7 years, RateBeer Best was again the largest beer competition in the world -- over 1.4 million reviews of 76,000 beers from over 8000 brewers worldwide were tallied. A particular emphasis was placed on tastings from the last year's performance. Additionally, brewpubs, bottle shops, restaurants and bars around the world were awarded prizes. Cheers to all the winners and to everyone who keeps the magical world of craft beer growing!
The RateBeer rating scale is based less on strict syle guidelines and more on beer enjoyment. The scoring guidlelines ask the rater to quantify how much they enjoyed all the beer's elements combined as a sensory experience. Was this a standout beer? Were expectations met? Did the beer go well with food? Would they recommend this to a friend? This isn't about how well the beer conformed to its style definition -- it's about a measurement of the rater's own appreciation. While this might irk those used to more strict guidelines, it does make for an interesting and enjoyable rating experience. A beer's scores reflect the fun part of enjoying a beer. And everyone's input counts, so any beer lover can have a say.
From the RateBeer FAQ:
Q. Should I rate a beer to style as a beer judge would?
A. In short, no. While RateBeer encourages its members to learn as much as they can about beer and beer styles, RateBeer uses a Hedonic Scale to judge a beer according to how much it pleases the nose, eyes and tongue.
This is the way we like our beer. We don't want it to conform to a mold, we want it to challenge us, intrigue us, surprise us, thrill us, dominate us, introduce us to new ideas... Simply put, we recognize great beer regardless of definitions. So please, learn about classic styles, learn about beer history, learn about the great brewers but when you rate put style aside and tell us how GOOD the beer is.
In addition to beer ratings by styles, brewers and geography, the RateBeer results also provide rankings on the best beer bars, brewpubs, retailers and restaurants. So, open up your favorite beer and spend some time to perusing the results, it's an interesting read. And, for you impatient readers, the Best Overall Beer as rated by RateBeer members is Three Floyds Oak Aged Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout.